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The Scots flew home on Saturday and when Ezra's naptime rolled around on Sunday I found myself surprised to be alone.  I had an assignment for the portrait class I am taking to shoot a portrait of someone I know using a flash. 

Assignment + solitude = selfie.

Self portraits give you an opportunity to see yourself as you are.  But by Sunday afternoon I had an idea about creating an image of myself as I'd like to be: shameless. 

This word has been bubbling up in me for the past several days, a call to cultivate this trait in myself.  But then the little voice that's a sucker for precision in language piped up, saying, but shamelessness is a bad thing!  I checked with the dictionary to confirm, and it turns out the little voice was right.  Merriam-Webster defines shameless as:

1: having no  shame : insensible to disgrace <a shameless braggart>
2: showing lack of shame <the shameless exploitation of the natives>

I watched Brene Brown's newest TED talk (you should clear 20 minutes out of your schedule RIGHT NOW to watch if you haven't yet, and if you haven't seen her first one on vulnerability, you should clear out another 20 minutes and watch that first) in which she describes shame as the voice in your head that says you're not good enough.

And then, if you manage to resist that one, it says who do you think you are?

You're not good enough.  Who do you think you are?

I have never thought of shame as my issue.  What do I have to be ashamed of, after all?  But this?  This you're not good enough, who do you think you are?  This is my loop.  So if this loop is what shame generates, I want out. 

I want to be able to bare myself to myself, the dreams, the fears, the lines in my skin.  I want to look myself in the eye.  I want to say to myself, to believe on a molecular level, I am enough.

Never mind the dictionary.  I want to be shameless.

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Reader Comments (16)

A face I have not seen in many years. Time has done well with you and it appears you are in a happy place. Had a dream of you last night that sent me wonder, where is she now. To a good person, enjoy what you seems you do. If you ever wonder about shame, take a look into the eyes of your child...It will fade.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhostFromthePast@PBO

Beautiful post. I'm with you! And love that photo of you.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Gates

Indeed! And what a beautiful selfie, too. Here's to being shameless!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSiobhan Wolf

Oh yes, my friend. So-much-fucking-yes! Let's be shameless.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan @ Life Refocused

Gorgeous post, gorgeous gal. xoxox.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeg

Yes, YES, HELL YES! And may I say WOW what a gorgeous selfie, my lovely friend! To being shameless!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

Yes, I want to be "shameless" too. I want to finally shut up that same voice in MY head that says I'm not good enough, don't know enough, have nothing to offer. Perhaps you have kicked off a quiet shameless revolution. Amazingly lovely selfie!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Unfortunately to be shameless in a good way you have to be innocent. A three year old running naked is shameless, but because they are innocent. As an adult the only shameless people tend to be narcissus or sociopaths. More primitive cultures have longer period of innocence, but us being advanced society it end early. If you look at the various creation myths, they all contains the loss of innocents and the development of shame. As long as we have self awareness there will be separation and shame.
By the way, nice picture and post.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Beautiful words + beautiful self portrait = Beautiful you!

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarleen

Beautiful use of solitude + assignment to produce unobligated unsolitude, ie connection.
Miriam and Webster pull a bit of a cop-out using the word 'shame' in the definition of 'shameless'.
What is a working definition of 'shameless' that doesn't loop back to 'shame' (and in the process concede primacy to it, Keith's comments notwithstanding)?
Let's say shame is the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something associated with dishonor, impropriety, ridicule, etc., done by oneself or another.
Maybe what we're getting at with 'shameless' is the pleasant feeling arising from consciousness of being associated with goodness, flowering, beauty, emergence, authenticity. We would be crazy and self-defeating to let ourselves be deflected from that, wouldn't we?

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

Good God are you beautiful!

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMB-the NEIGHB

self-compersion is my antidote

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergibbous moon

I like Brenda's idea - let's start a shameless revolution. Let's adopt Kathleen's definition and dive in!

March 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterCorinna

I like your portrait. I can see thoughtfulness in your eyes. I want to tell you that you'd better move fast on that loop. There are others on it, too, and we may be closing in on you. :)

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Vaughn

Wow, it doesn't get much better than this Corinna--a thoroughly impressive piece of self exploration in picture and word

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

Such a great self-portrait and poignant post!

March 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriela

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